Friday, June 30, 2006

Some Unsolicited Advice

I just received the book Never Mind Success...Go For Greatness! as told to Tavis Smiley. I know what you're thinking: corporate mumbo jumbo that ought to be dismissed. Trust me, the advice is worth following; most of it in this book comes from celebrities so you know it's good.

Here are a few of my favorites:

"If you're going to be a writer, make sure that on every page, every character wants something, even if it's only a drink of water.
--Michael Connelly, Writer

"Don't give people the benefit of the doubt. Start everyone at zero. Either they gain points with you or they lose points with you. Give people the benefit of the doubt and you usually get hurt."
--Ice Cube, Actor and Rapper

"Writers are like jazz musicians. If You're going to be a good writer, you have to write. Write every day, until someone is ready to pay you for it."
--Bakari Kitwana, Author

And finally, the best advice:

"Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!"
--John Cryer, Actor

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Healing Powers of Grease

Last night I arrived home at about 8:45 p.m. I had pulled into the driveway of our lovely little cottage, where two pink scooters were parked. My heart warmed a few degrees at the sight of them as I climbed out of my car and locked it up. I gathered up the scooters and carried one in each hand as I made my way down the narrow sidewalk along our garage.

As I approached the back yard, I took in the sights: a 15x20 plank deck with railing on the left and far edges, a beautiful outdoor table with a stripey umbrella and bestrewn with toys, a tidy shed protected by a stone bulldog statue (a gift left us by the previous owners who were McKinley Bulldog fans), a deep back yard containing a horseshoe pitch and ending in a line of trees bursting with green and life thanks to recent rain.

As I rounded the corner to enter the garage from the back door, I heard Doc and the girls chit-chatting congenially. They had just returned from the neighbor's house, accurately anticipating a thunderstorm in the very near future. Our neighbor is suddenly a hit with the local kids. He is an artistic landscaper whose latest inspired project is building a tiki bar in his back yard complete with posts, ropes, and tiki shack all surrounded by five tons of white sand. At present, only the decking is built. The sand resembels a graceful sand pit on a golf course; it's round, but not a perfect circle. All the kids who live close by are having a ball digging in that sand.

I set the scooters down under the awning and thought better of it on account of the rain. I picked them back up and carried them into the garage for safe-keeping. The girls began talking to me as if I hadn't been gone all day. They were so excited to have met some new kids and were even more excited about the sand. But they were tired, and said so.

"Let's go in the house and watch cartoons," I said.

"Can we go in the basement?" Riley asked.

"That's probably the place to be during a storm," I said, thinking out loud.

"I'm so scared!" Lucy said, "I want a blankey!"

"How about we go into Mommy and Daddy's room and snuggle up on the comfy bed?" I countered. The basement is nice, but I could feel my inner sheep dog stirring; I needed all my pups and my mate all in one place, all piled together. That's not very easy to do in the finished part of the basement. We have a TV and two soft, brown recliners. Nice for playing video games but not the snuggle-fest I was looking for.

"OK," both girls agreed.

"Are you coming?" I asked as I turned to Doc who was still in the garage.

"I'm right behind you," he said.

We all made our way through the kitchen, past the living room and down the L-shaped hallway to our large and cozy bedroom. I immediately began to get undressed and put on some jammies.

"You girls need to get out of those sandy clothes before you get near my bed," Doc said, determined to impose order on chaos.

"Naked time!" I yelled.

"Yay!" the girls shouted, "Naked time!"

Doc got the girls undressed as I walked into my walk in closet and found a pair of pink jammies. By the time I was dressed, the girls were undressed.

"I want some jammies!" Lucy demanded.

"OK, let's go find some."

Lucy and I walked back down the hall and entered her room, the first door on the left. I walked over to her tall, maple dresser and opened the top drawer. I found her a t-shirt which reads "My Mother Wears Combat Boots" and some red and blue, plaid flannel pants. She happily cooperated as I pulled the t-shirt over her head and the pants over her chubby little legs.

"Come on," I encouraged, "Let's go back to Mommy's room."

Lucy stopped in front of her crib and pointed. "Blankey?"

I looked into her crib. Her fuzzy blue blanket, a no-sew fleece blanket that my cousin Rachel helped my Grandpa make after he had his stroke and needed to work with his hands in order to regain his coordination, was missing.

"Where's your blankey?" I asked.

"I don't know..." she said, sadly.

"It's in the kitchen," Doc said loudly from the other room.

"Let's go find it, peanut."

"OK," she said.

We walked back through the living room and into the kitchen. It wasn't there. I continued on down to the basement, there are many blankets down there. I found a fuzzy blanket, but not the blankey. I walked back up the stairs and draped the blanket over Lucy's shoulders. As we turned to go back through the kitchent, we about ran into Doc and Riley.

"Her blanket is in the garage," he recalled.

I turned around and went into the garage. I found it lying on the bar stool. Our garage is the new Lodge. It was so clean and freshly painted we decided, rather than trying to squeeze a vehicle and all our tools in there, it would be better just to make it a cozy place to hang out. It's only a single-car garage and we have the shed for all the tools and lawn mower. Doc has done a marvelous job making it all lodgey. He even let me hang a Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince promotional poster out there. I looked around at the memorabilia of our lives together and started feeling the strain of the day melt.

Riley took the fuzzy blue blanket as Lucy was pre-occupied with the fuzzy red blanket, which was bigger. We made our way back to our bedroom and piled on the bed. Nickelodeon was done playing cartoons for the day, so I grabbed the remote and searched the interactive guide. I love digital cable. As I scrolled through, I happened to see an old favorite of mine in the list on ABC Family. And without asking anyone, I hit the select button and we joined the movie Grease about a half an hour into it.

With all my loves around me we settled in to watch the singing and dancing. Riley was more captivated by the movie than I expected. She even chided me for singing along.

"Stop singing, Mommy," she complained, "I can't hear the movie."

I complied for a while. But I couldn't help talking along with my favorite snippets of dialogue.

"Where'd you steal that bumper?" one of the T-birds asked.

"From your mother." Two other T-Birds replied in unison.

*****

"What's that?" Jan, a Pink Lady, asks as she watches Cha-Cha pull something out of her blouse to give to Scorpion for luck before the race at Thunder Road.

"A lock of hair....from her chest!" Marty saucily replies.

*****

I could probably do the whole movie verbatim and on-command. I saw it for the first time when I was nine years old. I went with my parents to see it at the theater and was so enthralled, we all stayed to watch the very next showing. I've watched that movie so many times and acted out the singing and dancing parts with my friends so many times. I did get burned out on it for a while. In fact, it's probably been 15 years since I've seen it. I was surprised by how much I remembered; I even sang along with "Beauty School Drop Out," a more obscure song from the soundtrack.

By the time the movie was over, Riley had fallen asleep. Doc carried Lucy off to bed, who kept saying "Good night, Sister," to Riley, expecting a response.

"Good night, baby," I said, "Sister's asleep."

"Good night, Sister...Good night, Sister...Good night, Sister..." Lucy sang as she and Doc exited down the hall.

Moments later Doc came back in and carried Riley to bed. We went out to the lodge and sat at our teak bar.

"I can't believe how much better I feel," I said, suddenly realizing that I didn't feel tense, or sad, or angry; I just felt comfortable and light.

"I knew you needed to watch that movie," Doc said, "You needed some fun."

"You're right," I said.

I do love that movie.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Take A Peek




What Your Soul Really Looks Like



You are a wanderer. You constantly long for a new adventure, challenge, or even a completely different life.



You are a grounded person, but you also leave room for imagination and dreams. You feet may be on the ground, but you're head is in the clouds.



You see yourself with pretty objective eyes. How you view yourself is almost exactly how other people view you.



Your near future is in a very different place (both physically and mentally) from where you are right now.



For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.

So, I Had A Bad Day

Sometimes the system goes on the blink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well oh that strong
And I'm not wrong

So where is the passion when you need it the most
Oh you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day


--Daniel Powter


Yesterday sucked. I received a major disappointment and got cranky. I even tried to convince people to keep their chipper comments to themselves; that is so unlike me, comment whore that I am. I hope you all can forgive me my wrath.

I started off today with a bit of a gloom over my head. I couldn't get myself out of bed and ended up being about an hour late for work. On the way, I had a nice chat with my Mom, who helped me formulate a plan for my future. So, while I'm still not prancing in the fields among butterflies and bunnies, I'm doing much better than I was 24 hours ago.

So, thank you for listening, receiving my rage, and (hopefully) forgiving my little bit of nastiness yesterday. I really am a sweetie and worthy of any comments you wish to leave, chirpy or otherwise.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Harrumph

Have you ever been so pissed off at someone that you were ready to dump them? Sure you have. We all have. I'm there right now with someone in my life. I've gone beyond Lake Annoyed. I've moved into Hatesville. Now I've left Hatesville and have settled into Apathiopolis. And now I know this relationship is doomed (don't worry Lodgemates: it's none of you, nor is it anyone in my family). I'm hurt, disappointed, demoralized, and worst of all: I'm not surprised.

It is time to pack my bandana full of canned goods, cheap booze, and cheroots and find myself a train to hop. Yes, I'll hop on the 4:15 cargo train to Anyplace Else, crack open a can of beans, have a swig of Old Englsih, light up a cheroot and position my iPod earbuds just so. Sigh. I can just see the scenary whizzing past as Morrisey croones..."Oh, the death of a disco dancer, well, I'd rather not get invovled...".

Yes, let's not get involved. Let's keep it on the surface. Let's not invest in one another. Let's skip the pain and move on to contemplative lonliness, greener pastures. From now on, I'm in charge. I will decide where and when and what to do. If we are going to find connections, let's make sure they're on even footing. I'll look after me, you'll look after you. If one of us needs help, we'll work that out. I'm not going all Objectivist on you. I'm just saying, let's not power trip, let's not guilt trip. I've got jet lag from all the fucking trips here recently.

I'm getting out from under the thumb if it's the last thing I do. God help me. God help you. I'll help you if you ask, but I won't contort myself. From this day forward: what you see is what you get. No more and no less. I won't try to predict what I can do to assist you. You are going to have to request aid. If you say nothing, I'll assume everything is A-OK. All the while humming, "...Nobody's gonna break-a my stride, nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no...I've got to keep a-moving..."

Don't feel sorry for me. Don't wonder if I'm off my nut. Don't tell me to hang tough, buck up, or soldier through. I know who I am, I know what I want. I'm not depressed, deranged, or demented. I'm determined. I am as Scarlett O'Hara, with my fist raised to the setting sun: "As God as my witness, I will never go hungry again!" I'm ready to do what must be done to get me and mine through this bloody war alive.




WARNING: If anyone leaves me a comment trying to cheer me up or pat me on the head, I'll delete it unapologetically.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

This Is So Me




You scored as Vampiric vampire hunter. So you're a vampire, who hates vampires, that's understandable, I guess, but it must be hard to make to make friends.


Where in the vampire world do you fit.(Pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Shouldn't This Be Enough To Get Me On Wikipedia?

Found this on Raven's Blog...


You scored as True Alternative. You are a True Alternative! Labels do not suit you well, particularly as you tend to strike your own path and to grow purely via experience. No armchair quarterbacking for you! Originality and creation are your specialities, and sometimes you can even articulate what the hell just happened. Someday you may find yourself drawing the maps for other people... lots of other people.

True Alternative 85%
Spiritualist 75%
White Lighter 65%
Mystic 55%
Otherkin 50%
Aimless Eclectic 45%
Magician 25%
Discordian 15%

What Subversive Alternative Paradigm Are You? created with QuizFarm.com

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

Irony

Doc got a job at a plastics manufacturer. Know what they make? DVD Security cases. We gave up buying DVD's for a year, so we can't support the industry he works for.

Oh well.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Call To Arms

This is a post from my Dark Side. I think it's important enough for general consumption so I've moved it here. Apologies to those who've read and commented on it already.

Alice, it is time we made a request of our fellows for the betterment of civilization. I realize we may be labeled a prude for our efforts, but better to be painted broadly by that brush than to continue suffering in silence and hoping a fashion of the vernacular will exit of its own accord.

Like an insensitive houseguest, this little four letter word refuses to note it's time has come and gone. This word has lingered around since at least the early 1990's and shows no signs of going for its keys. Are you ready, Alice? OK; here we go.

I kindly request the the word "anal" be banished from the lexicon, excepting its use when describing medical conditions between doctors and patients, and I further request it be replaced by the equally descriptive yet less offensive "fussy."

For years I have been waiting patiently for the word "anal" to go the way of the dodo, remembering that the English language is constantly in flux and hoping that this word shall soon become passe. Nearly twenty years later, I'm still being surprised by its use in polite society, in particular, business meetings.

"I'm so anal about data," someone will proclaim.

Shocked by the casual remark referencing the nasty nether-regions of my colleague, I can think of nothing else for a few short seconds but their ass, imagining them reaching for the Preparation H whenever someone brings them a report. I don't want to go there, Alice, to coin another dead turn of phrase.

So join with me, won't you? Start today. When you are in conversation with anyone but your physician (or cellmate), make a point to describe someone's nitpicky behavior as "fussy." Try it as a game. See if you can change the tide of vulgarity and gently guide the lexicon away from this ambush of yukiness awaiting you at your next team meeting.

I have shared very much with you here and have asked very little in return. Kindly consider joining me in my quest to forever rid us of the anal invasion that crosses our tongues, assaults us in the workplace, and makes itself insidious in our minds.

Join the fussy rebellion. Afterall, fussy is only one letter longer, the same amount of syllables and equally descriptive without being offensive to anyone, unless you are more fussy than I am about language.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Two Movies

Saturday night the whole family gathered around the TV to enjoy popcorn and a movie. We settled down on our comfy king sized bed to watch Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the new one. By the way, the stove in my new house makes perfect popcorn. It is a flat surface stove. I swear it is such an impovement over my last stove. Of course, the last stove we had was an ancient gas stove that the previous owners of our last house left for us. I think someone sat on the surface; it caved in in the middle about an inch, making the burners unlevel. A level surface is most definately crucial for a good batch of popcorn.

We watched Willie Wonka on my new $33.54 DVD player from Walmart. We used to have four working DVD players. One we smugly sold at a garage sale, thinking it was austentatious to have so many DVD players (isn't our face red now?). One is the PlayStation 2, which lives in the basement and is kind of touchy when it comes to playing DVD's. The other two bit the dust due to the vigorous attention it received during Lucy's maniacal button pushing phase.

Armed with a $50 gift certificate (thanks Grandma!) I bought a cute little DVD player. Wow, is it nice! It plays DVD's! With no problems! We know where the remote is! The remote is white and so different from the two black remotes we have! The remote came with batteries! We are very pleased with it. Doc never ceases to be amazed by its diminutive size. I'm just glad it works and it was cheap.


Lucy picked the movie out and after some cajoling, Riley agreed to watch the movie too. We all laughed at the funny parts, danced to the grooving parts, and teared up a little at the end. Well, not all of us teared up. I love this movie. I like it better than the original. The best part of this movie, of course, is the Oompa Loompas. They are all played by the same guy: Deep Roy. We watched the special feature: the making of an Oompa Loompa and got to see Deep prepare for his many roles. It is amazing how much he had to do. His hard work and natural talent and charisma pushes this movie over the top for me. His Oompa Loompas are cute, wise, cunning, clever, and sexy. I could watch him sing and dance all night.

The girls enjoyed this movie, too, although the squirrel attack always bothers Riley. When the movie was over, the girls danced as the credits rolled. Another special feature of the DVD is "Learn the Oompa Loompa Dance". We tried that for a little while, but it was getting late and time for bed. We'd have to save the Oompa Loompa dance for another time.

Yesterday, we enjoyed our DVR. Doc recorded the enhanced MASH from AMC. The enhancement was this: they showed the film in letterbox format and ran Pop Up Video like bits of trivia about the movie along the bottom black stripe. I've enjoyed this movie in the past, shrugged and moved on. But having watched the first nine seasons of the TV Show anew (we have them on DVD) and having the "enhancement", I got so much more out of it. First of all, it gave me something else to look at when they were showing all the gore. Secondly, it gave MASH wonks like me and Doc something new to chew on with regard to the story line.

Some fun facts about MASH:

  • The guy who plays Radar was discovered playing Charlie Brown off-broadway. He also dropped his pants during the infamous nude shot of Hot Lips in the shower. Apparently she saw him and it surprised her so much she waited a few beats before hitting the deck (in previous shots, she went down too fast).
  • Most of the cast were recruited from improve troups.
  • Robert Altman's son wrote the lyrics for "Suicide is Painless", the famous theme song. Apparently, he's made more off royalties for that song than Robert Altman made off of the movie.
  • Whenever the screen writer came on the set, someone would yell, "get the script! The screen writer is here." The writer thought it was a joke, but it wasn't. Most of the dialog was improvised. Ironically, he the screenwriter won an Oscar for this movie.

We really enjoyed the enhanced version of this movie. It was nice to be able to read the trivia rather than listen to the director/producer/stars talk over the movie on a commentary. I mean, my God! This is a Robert Altman movie. They are already talking all over each other! Imagine if you added a handful more. By the way, this sort of "realism", this overlapping dialog, I find it very annoying. To me it seems pretensious. But, it looks like I'm going to have to live with it. I plan to enjoy A Prairie Home Companion as soon as the Pact allows.

And speaking of the Pact: we are surviving quite well, thank you very much. So far, neither one of us has broken down into tears. I'm really glad we are doing this; I didn't realize what a compulsion it was for us to purchase movies. At Wal-mart, I felt freed from the need to scour a $4.88 DVD bin. I saw they had a copy of Dave, a movie I really enjoyed, probably would have bought pre-Pact, but probably would never watch. I passed it without even blinking an eye and only spared a second of pity for those who were drawn to sort through the bin. I'm sure they didn't need my pity, but it felt good to look down my nose at them anyway, an added benefit of sacrifice.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

World Cup Lunch

I spent my lunch hour yesterday in Ireland. Well, a reasonable facsimile of Ireland: Flannery's Pub (no, really!). The girls and I decided to venture out of the salt mines and go someplace different for a change. It was actually our third stop. We tried to go to Taste Buds, a local cafeteria with healthy fair, but it was still closed for vacation. Then we went to the Winking Lizard, but they were so busy, they didn't even acknowledge me as I stood and waited for five minutes to see how long the wait would be for a table. So, we happened upon Flannery's Pub as we tried to make our way to Tower City.

We were in luck! The place had immediate seating and they were playing ESPN2 on the many plasma TV's throughout the place. Germany was playing Costa Rica in a World Cup match. I was thrilled to be in a place where people seemed to be mildly interested in watching it. I know very little about soccer, but fortunately, M was a former player and a well-informed fan. We enjoyed sandwiches in a European atmosphere while watching the World Cup.

M answered my questions helpfully while we ate. I learned that many of the players were pros, though the World Cup was more like the Olympics than, say, the Superbowl. Players, like David Beckham often played on teams outside of their country (he plays for a team in Spain) during the regular seasons, but returned home to join their countrymen for the World Cup. I learned that the clock counted up instead of down. I learned that what I know as personal fouls from the NFL garner players yellow cards in soccer. If a player gets two yellow cards, they are red-carded and ejected from the game, and perhaps also from the game after that one. Stiff penalties indeed for rough housing. Also, when the snitch is caught, the game is over.

We watched as we ate and I learned that if you look away for just a second, you could miss a goal. I had my eyes glued to the set as Germany's offense kept the ball near the Costa Rican's goal for a majority of the time. I missed seeing both teams score in real time as I looked away for a moment to pick up a pickle off my plate or reached for my drink. Thank goodness for instant replay. It is very rare for any team to score, so I now understand why, on British TV, soccer fans are absolutely glued to the set. Catching a goal in action is as elusive as that darn snitch.

Eventually, we tore ourselves away to return to work. We walked past the bar towards the exit and were distracted from our departure by some action on the game. Costa Rica had just scored and they were analyzing the playback.

"What happened?" I asked M.

"The player for Costa Rica was offsides," she said.

"Will the goal still count?" I asked.

"I think so," she explained. "The ref didn't call it."

"What is offsides?" I wondered.

M began to explain it to me and noticed the dumbsquizzled look on my face. So she began to demonstrate...in the middle of the bar. She stood behind me and positioned S in front of me.

"Now, I have the ball and you are on the other team. If I pass the ball to Sarah, who's ahead of you, I would be offsides. Now I could pass it to the right or left or backwards, but not out front. That's what the Costa Ricans did."

"Oh," I said, starting to understand, "So, the soccer ball is like a moving line of scrimmage in football."

"Something like that." She said.

I'm still not sure I understand 100%, but I think if I had a pint of Harp, it might make more sense.

Ah, the soccer fan: willing to demonstrate soccer tactics in the middle of a bar. I think I'm gonna like this strange, Europey sport.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

OK, I'll Get On the Bandwagon...At Least It's Roomy

Way back in April, my good (and psychic) friend Gennifer declared she would be following and offering her opinions on the World Cup soccer tourney...play-off? What the heck is it called? She covers football on her blog Football For People Who Don't Care About Football and will be supplementing her coverage of the Cleveland Browns with World Cup news. If her first entry is any sign of what's to come; I'm there.

Then, I hear that Drew Carey is going to be doing World Cup coverage as well. Something about hanging out at tail gate parties. Of course I love Drew Carey; he's a hometown boy made famous. I'll tune in for that.

But the final straw that broke the apathists back was this: Henry Kissinger is covering the World Cup for Newsweek. That's just too absurd for words. I must witness it.

Gooooooal!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Fact

"Tell me something amusing," Madame E commanded.

"Um...I'm a Glam Rocker," I offered.

"That's not amusing," she said.

"It's not?" I asked.

"No," she explained, "That's a fact."

So, here you go...

You Are a Glam Rocker!

You put the "show" in rock show with your larger than life self.
No doubt, you are all about making good music...
But what really gets you going is having an over the top show.
Glitter, costumes, and wild hair are your thing - with some rock thrown in!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

God Talk: Did Jesus Wear Pants?

God Talk is from the brilliant mind of Big Orange, who talks God every Wednesday.

Today is an ominous day. It is the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year of the millenium. Satanists everywhere are jubilant. In fact, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, some very famous satanists are marking the occaision with a wedding. Szandora a model and "devil girl" will join Stanton LeVey (son of Anton LeVay, founder of the Church of Satan, in unholy matrimony.

The article in the PD focuses on Eric Freeman, local boy and "creator of gruesome artwork involving dolls and religious symbols". Notice the reporter does not call him an artist. Freeman, according to the article is also known as "Dark Lord 10000000 (if you don't want to count the zeros, that's 10 million - approximating the 3 percent of the U.S. population Freeman says is needed to stand up and change the hypocrisy of the world)". DL10MIL was tapped by the LeVay's to design a wedding gown for the devil girl, a brown and black victorian number. Apparently, they love it. They also love him so much, they are flying him in to LA and putting him up for the ceremony, although they are not paying him for the gown; it was a gift.

They also sold tickets for this wedding and gave them away. It looks like it will be quite a bash, though not one I'd like to attend. I am a firm believer in the Bill of Rights. I love my freedom and I love yours. I also, sadly, love theirs. So I am not moved to take up arms and squash their fun. Well...I am moved so to do, but am restraining myself mightily.

I've never met a satanist, that I know of, but I have been affected by followers of Ayn Rand, who are a just step to the left, if you will, from satanists, in my humble opinion. I also can extrapolate what the effect their self-centered and for-profit stance on life can do to society. Although, I can see their point on one issue: they believe churches should pay taxes. I'm not sure I'd go that far. But I believe churches should be fiscally responsible. They should at least be held financially accountable to an independent auditor, who checks that they are doing what they say they are doing with donations.

But back to what I don't like about them. What happens when you live your life looking out for number one? You may profit, yes. But what if you stumble? What if something happens to you that is out of your control? Now you can no longer profit on your own. What will the Church of Satan do for you then? And just because a person can't be responsible for their own well-being, does that make them worthless? Are we all required to pay our own way?

I realize that I only have a grasp of a very tiny bit of what the Church of Satan stands for and I may not be very fair in my assessments of them. But, I know at their core, they believe in the divinity of the indivudual and that's another palce we find ourselves at cross purposes. I do not believe that individuals are divine, but rather we carry the divine within us. We are touched by God and belong to God, but we are not gods ourselves. If we are gods, where is my power to control the passage of time?

If we believe that we are like gods, that we are totally in control of our own destiny, and that we should do what we need to do to get as far as we can in life, without thought to the others in the world, what happens to those who can't? What if we convince ourselves that we must succeed in life on our own and without help? What happens if we fail? Sometimes, people who believe they have to do it all on their own do fail, and believing it is shameful to seek help, end up in the deepest and most self-destructive depressions. It makes for a dog-eat-dog world. I don't want to live in a dog-eat-dog world.

But let's look at the other end of the spectrum...perhaps the Baptist church? I have had limited but intimate experience with the Babptist church. I spent a few days in a few summers at Vacation Bible School at the Canton Baptist Temple. I was baptised at age 17 at the Massilon Baptist Temple, And I married a Baptist, albeit in an Episcopalian church: St. Pauls. Note: I couldn't find this church's website, but there is a nice picture of the sanctuary and the organ. By the way, Doc, while confident in his opinions and beliefs, is not the typical baptist one runs into in my hometown.

I find the certainty of the Baptists, in general, in their rightness to be nearly as frightening as the certainty of satanists. I remember a sign outside of a Baptist church in Newark, Ohio that gave me serious pause. It read: A tolerant society is a decadant society. While I can see their point that being tolerant of everyone and their quirks can lead to a lawless and uncivilized society, I guess I wouldn't dismiss tolerance out of hand, as this sign confidently suggests. Afterall, I believe Jesus was a tolerant guy and I try to pattern my life after his example, as they claim to. My tolerance stretches a bit further, I'm sure. I believe that there is good in everyone and that there is more than one way to find the Divine.

As an institution, the Baptist church has a very strong set of rules. There is only one Bible that is legitimate: The King James version. It is the rule. You must follow it or face scorn or worse: Hell. At the Massilon Baptist Temple, I drew looks for wearing pants rather than a skirt. It was explained to me that pants are for men, and according to the Bible, women and men should only wear garb specific to their gender. Apparently pants, made for women, sold in a women's clothing department broke the rules. On the other hand, if we are supposed to dress according to what the Bible says, wouldn't we be wearing togas or robes? I'm not completely certain, but I don't think Jesus and his male contemporaries wore pants. But, I nitpick...

The arrogance of the satanists and the baptists are the same. And arrogance is a very human failing; we usually don't have the goods to back it up (especially if we are satanists claiming to be gods). It's actually one of the big 7, is it not? Pride and arrogance are the same really. I know that satanists and baptists alike believe they hold the correct path. I fear these people. Hubris is a dangerous thing. I am a Christian person. But I am not a specific Christian. I try to find the basics and apply them; I'm too busy to thumb through the King James version to help me decide what to wear to work in the morning. To me the basics are these:

  • Love your neighbor as yourself, and
  • Pray without ceasing.

I think you will find that if you do the above, you will remain within the 10 Commandments. If we value each other as much as we value ourselves, we can all have a chance living a good life, relatively free from undue pain, suffering and struggle. Of course there will always be catastrophes and calamaties, but together, we can lessen the impact, rather than leave the weak for dead. Darwin had a point that, in the animal kingdom, only the strong survive. But I'd rather live in a world that honors life, protects the weak, and is a step to the left of the animal kingdom.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Complex Complex

A few weeks ago, Doc, Madame E and I were hanging out. Talk turned, as it sometimes does in these situations, to Paris Hilton. We remarked the usual things people remark about when talking about her: her feud with Nicole Ritchie, her inexplicable fame, her money.

"You know what really bugs me about Paris Hilton," I asked, "I think she's a bad influence on Lindsay Lohan." This statement got looks from my two good friends.

"Those girls," I began to expain, "They all seem to date the same guys and get into fights in clubs. I just wish poor Lindsay didn't stoop to that level."

"Well," Madame E offered, "She does come from a broken home; her father's a criminal and all of that."

"I suppose," I said, saddened a bit. "It's just that I'm kind of protective of her, you know. I watched her grow up in the movies. She starred in one of my very favorite movies, 'Parent Trap' as an eleven-year-old. I just hate to see her grow up to be a strung out, alcoholic, attention whore."

"We have four copies of that movie and the original," Doc added.

Ignoring him, I pressed on, "Maybe she'll pull a Drew Barrymore and start her own production company, start making good decisions with her life. I mean, she's had a lot of success and she's old enough now to begin directing her own life. Maybe she's smart enough be successful doing it."

"Two copies of the original Parent Trap and two copies of the new one." Doc continued dropping these facts undeterred.

"Well," I admitted, "It is one of my favorite movies of all time." I paused, steeling myself for a confession. "Do you know why I love that movie in all its iterations? I've always secretly hoped that I'd been separated at birth from a twin. It was a major wish-fulfillment movie for me."

"It's the Elvis Complex," Madame E declared. "All only children have it."

Stunned, I stared at her. "What!?!"

"Sure," she explained, "All only children dream they have a long-lost twin: The Elvis Complex."

Doc was puzzeled.

"Of course," I said, catching on, "He's buried next to his twin, who died at birth, at Graceland! Where did you hear about this Elvis Complex?"

"It's my own theory," she said.

"Wow," I was impressed, "You're right! I bet it is common among only children This is totally going in my blog."

*******
Now it is several weeks later and I've finally logged it. In the interim between the conversation above and now, I questioned another only child that I know, Big Orange.
"Did you ever wish you had a twin," I asked.
"I've thought of cloning myself..." he offered.
"No, I mean, as a kid, did you ever desparately wish that you had a long-lost twin somewhere out there?"
"Not really," he said.
"Hurrumph," I grunted.
So, has any other only child out there felt this way?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

He's A Virgin, Apparently...

Doc told me a little story about our little Lucy. You see, we have one of these little Twinky the Kid twinky storage units (pictured to the left). It's plastic and can hold one twinky. Lucy, having spotted TTK on a shelf, pointed to him and said, "I want that." So Doc reached for him and handed it over to her.

"He's a cowboy," Shawn told her.

"Cowboy hat!" she said.

"Yes, that's right!" Doc responded.

"Cowboy boots!" she pointed.

"Yes, that's right!" said Doc.

And then, after some thought, Lucy proclaimed, "He's a virgin."

Well of course he is.

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

I turned 35 yesterday and I must say, I had a lovely birthday. I celebrated with many Lodge members on Saturday. We drank and laughed and had a great time splashing around in Possum Lake (our hot tub). It was so good to see everyone and share a meal together al fresco. On Sunday, we celebrated my birthday with family and last night, my parents threw a cook out in my honor. I am blessed with generous and thoughtful friends and that is the best gift I could have.

An interesting thing happened with regard to the presents I received. I believe my friends and family are concerned about our new Pact to give up paying for movies and a theme developed. The Big E got me the first season of Robot Chicken, which rocks to the max. Madame E got me the coolest CD: Jesus Christ Superstar sans vocals so I can sing along to my hearts desire on my long trek to and from work. My parents got me a $30 gift certificate to Cinemark. So, now, a week into the Pact, we have been the beneficiaries of a movie bounty.

In the spirit of the pact, I am planning to put all these lovely things to use economically. If Doc and I play our cards right, we can use the gift certificate to see 15 movies at the second run Cinemark theater 10 minutes from our house. This should get us a good way through our year of movie abstinence, provided we sneak in snacks. I hope to savor Robot Chicken over the next month or two. And if my spirits dip, I'll pop in the JCSS CD and sing my heart out, much to the dismay of my children.

But back to the hot tub. We had an inspired idea. You see, the hot tub has not only different colored lights under water, but it also has an on-board sound system (Spaudio). Once it got dark, we turned the lights on and hooked up the Ipod to play the sound track of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. We sat their in our sci-fi pool, listened to space music and looked up at the stars. It almost felt like we were on a space ship ourselves! It was grand.

So here's to a new year where we spend our money wisely, save what money we can, enjoy the company of good friends, and cherish what we have.